Rhian Ramos – The Rich Man’s Daughter
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) What other social issues would you have liked to have tackled during the run of “The Rich Man’s Daughter?”
A) I actually think that “The Rich Man’s Daughter” did a very good job of tackling the relevant issues of Jade who was going through an identity crisis, unsure of what her priorities were, fighting for her right to love while trying to please her family at the same time and how this affected all the surrounding characters. Some relationships were strengthened by it, some characters became monsters. The story was packed with different levels of acceptance and non-acceptance for who Jade was becoming…This was the social issue that was the heart of the story. Adding more could confuse the point and I believe that staying focused on the acceptance for the LGBT community was an effective strategy for our writers.
Q) Did you like the way that certain issues (suicide, abuse, etc.) were handled by the writers?
A) We did receive feedback regarding how Oscar Tanchingco had his bodyguards beat up Althea saying this was “over the top.” To some extent I can understand that, as not every lesbian gets beaten up by the goons of her hateful possible in-laws. But we are in a soap opera and we must show the extremes of the persecution that could happen. Who is to say what a powerful man wouldn’t do when he realizes that the one thing he can’t control is his daughter? I agree that Oscar lost his marbles there, but maybe that’s what we wanted…Because it surely was effective. No one can say that Althea was in the wrong. I wouldn’t change anything about our possibly over-the-top, but statement making methods.
Q) Has your family been supportive of your role as Jade?
A) Absolutely. My family is completely supportive of me as an actress and, initially, we were all just very excited about the journey this would be for me. They all know how hungry I am to always be given a challenge when it comes to acting and they too want me to be an effective storyteller. But as the show went on, we all learned many things about respect, rights and understanding. Jade became a character close to all our hearts. It’s been a long time since my mom and grandma watched any of my shows as religiously as they did “The Rich Man’s Daughter” and now the show has had a great effect on my life as well. Jade has connected us to the fans of the show with a bond of understanding because through this ride we had all gone through the same feelings and emotions. Even my mom and sister get to talk to and interact with the fans online and that’s a dynamic we can thank Jade for.
Q) We know that during filming there were some restrictions, but do you know if there are any juicy behind the scenes or extra content that fans will get to see with the upcoming DVD?
A) Unfortunately, I don’t know what the final edit has in store for us. I’m just as curious as everyone else to find out what made it to the DVD. I can only hope that it will contain all the spontaneous ad-lib and nuances we freely acted out with the intention of being as realistic as possible. I’ll admit that parts were cut out for censorship since it’s a show released on free TV and other issues. I do hope that all those issues will be resolved by the time the DVD comes out.
Q) “The Rich Man’s Daughter” has become quite the beacon for LGBT fans not just in Philippines but internationally, what has this significance meant to you?
A) I just feel lucky to have been a part of it. This show would have happened one way or another…Anyone could have been Jade. The story was ready to be told. It was an amazing experience to be part of a show that brought to the forefront some of the challenges of the LGBT community…To show their hurts, wounds and battles and, as a result, drawing compassion and understanding for what they go through. I do believe in fate just because the odds of this happening were actually slim. From a global perspective, who would have expected a lesbian show on free TV in the Philippines? The wildfire that the show became really showed us how connected the LGBT community is and how everyone in it has a social responsibility to share to each other any news or changes or empowering information about anything LGBT. They became a powerful online network that helped bring the show to all friendlies around the world. And I’m happy to be treated by some as an honorary member just for being a friendly, too.
Q) The show’s finale gave us such amazing character dynamics and diverse storylines, what was it like filming?
A) It was a fast moving story from the very beginning. We would see a break up scene, getting back together and breaking up again in the same five minute period. The writers really did an amazing job of keeping the show jam-packed for the audience and difficult for the actors. [laughs] Yeah, I have to say it really was tough sometimes. You haven’t even gotten over one feeling yet and in comes rushing another emotion to deal with. It’s a rare feat for a soap to be able to pull that off until the very end and the continuous changes kept everyone very busy and in the zone. Our director, Dominic Zapata, always attacked scenes inspired and with excitement. Some movements had underlying meanings and some shots were formulated to make the audience feel a certain way. Everyone would come to work inspired and go home tired and fulfilled.
Q) Which character do you most relate to? Jade, Althea, Wila, Batchi, or another character?
A) I’m actually a Batchi fan. She’s like a “finding yourself” veteran! [laughs] Chynna [Ortaleza] played this character with confidence, self respect and at peace with who she was, without a chip on her shoulder. There were days that I didn’t particularly like Jade, for the same reasons that drove others nuts, too…But it was my job to believe! And so she taught me a lot. Jade’s still my homie.
Q) How do you handle the negative reactions to your role as Jade and what did you learn by playing this character?
A) All of the negative reactions that I got for my role were exactly that – for the role, not for my attack (thank goodness). So these were not comments that I took personally. Most people wanted to strangle Jade for her indecisive handling of her relationship with Althea. That might have been hitting it close for anyone who has been in a relationship with someone who hasn’t completely found themselves. These were parts though that were needed to tell the story effectively because no one makes a big life change over night without any confusion involved.
Q) The connection between Jade and Althea runs so deeply and is like a constant live spark, what do you attribute this to?
A) Glaiza [de Castro] and I are both pretty passionate about acting. We shared a lot of views on it and we knew we would have to draw our feelings from a place of truth. That required some trust in each other to be nonjudgmental. But that came easy because of our similar acting beliefs and because we’re both generally friendly, understanding artists. I may have not so easily depicted love if I was acting opposite someone who wasn’t as relaxed and easily likable.
Q) Can fans expect another collaboration with Glaiza in the near future musically or otherwise?
A) Of course I would like to! I already know what it’s like to collaborate with her and she is really a wealth of creativity, but I don’t know what the future holds for each of us.
Q) How do you think “The Rich Man’s Daughter” will impact the societal norms of LGBT relationships in the Philippines and throughout Asia as well?
A) Well, I’m no sociologist, but I hope positively. I know that media is pretty powerful and that there were many members of the LGBT community that called our show empowering, but what I find equally important is how straight men and women would come up to us talking about how much more they understood a friend or family member. If that could happen on a wide scale, it would be a huge success for our show to have played a part in.
Q) What are some of your favorite guilty pleasure TV shows to watch or music artists to listen to?
A) Since I’m going with theme of “guilty pleasure,” I’ll say “Narcos” for TV and Rihanna is my favorite bad girl for artists. [smile]